Logano claims million dollar NASCAR All Star win as Busch and Stenhouse fight

Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Logano only failed to lead just a single lap of NASCAR’s All-Star Race XL and it was only due to his pit stall being before the start-finish line.

In hindsight, the Team Penske 22 won the race during qualifying due to the combined effort of Logano, crew chief Paul Wolfe and their over-the-wall pit crew on Saturday afternoon.  They had track position as a result and never surrendered it.

“The execution in qualifying … I feel like it’s the hardest pole to win because there’s so many factors that go into it and it takes the whole team to do it all the way through, like all the way through the whole team to get that, to earn that clean air,” Logano said. “And then to be able to execute tonight with the strategy with the unknown of what the option tire was going to be like, how long it would last, and then maintaining, like we said, up front there during the stop, as well.”

It’s no secret that this has been an awful year for Penske, and its two-time Cup Series champion specifically, currently mired 17th in the championship standings.

“It’s funny because the first thing that goes through your mind is gosh, I wish this counted for points,” Logano said. “But let’s be honest, a million bucks is a lot of money, and it counts for something.”

Logano was perpetually challenged throughout the race, but no one could overcome the clean air advantage, and the much-ballyhooed option tire experiment did not produce its intended results. Early in the race, teams realized that both the option tire and primary tire produced generally the same lap times, especially after five laps or so and thus, it became a track position race.

For example, Kyle Larson took two lap old scuffs and restarted on them with 47 laps to go and quickly burned them up trying to overtake Denny Hamlin.

“I didn’t have any grip,” Larson said. “I got there really quickly. I was just loose. I was really loose on exit to start, and then my entry got really lose, and I don’t know. My balance was in an okay spot and they were just driving away from me.

“I know they pumped the air pressure up so maybe it just took it past the point where it was good. It was a bummer because I thought for sure that we were in the best position. We just didn’t have any grip.”

It wasn’t any easier for Hamlin trying to shake down Logano.

“I think, if I had a 50 lap tire advantage (like Larson) maybe I would have had a shot because my car was so good on the long run,” Hamlin said. “Every time I had like a clean lap, I felt like I was a tenth faster. I would run to him, get stuck, burn my shit up, back off, cool down my tires and make another run at him.

“We never got to cords. I needed the tires to get down to the cords to produce the lap time falloff and differentiation.”

The other major storyline came on the second lap, when contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch ultimately resulted in a garage fight between the two after the race.

The incident began when Busch got loose and into the outside wall on the first lap, allowing Stenhouse to take him three-wide but the two-time Cup champion was adamant that it was a foul and sought retribution on the two-time Xfinity Series champion.

Busch shoved Stenhouse hard into the Turn 2 outside wall and out of the race. Stenhouse parked his car in Busch’s pit stall, climbed up their pit box and offered choice words for crew chief Randall Burnett and Richard Childress Racing Vice President Andy Petree.

He vowed some sort of retaliation by the end of the night.

He then waited for the race to end and confronted Busch in the pit area. He threw the first punch.

Chris Buescher ended the race in third ahead of Kyle Larson, whom earlier in the day qualified fifth in the Indianapolis 500, and Ryan Blaney. Completing the top 10 were Bubba Wallace, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Busch.

NASCAR Cup Series Race – NASCAR All-Star Race
North Wilkesboro Speedway
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Sunday, May 19, 2024

1. (1)  Joey Logano, Ford, 200.
2. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200.
3. (5)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 200.
4. (12)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200.
5. (17)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200.
6. (19)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 200.
7. (7)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 200.
8. (15)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200.
9. (9)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 200.
10. (14)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 200.
11. (20)  Noah Gragson, Ford, 200.
12. (8)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 200.
13. (18)  Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 200.
14. (6)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 200.
15. (4)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 200.
16. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200.
17. (3)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 200.
18. (10)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 198.
19. (13)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 186.
20. (16)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 2.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  93.809 mph.
Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 19 Mins, 57 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .636 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  4 for 27 laps.
Lead Changes:  2 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   J. Logano 1-103;B. Keselowski 104;J. Logano 105-200
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Joey Logano 2 times for 199 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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